Belgium V USA – Tuesday 1st July. 9PM. BBC 1
It’s been a truly spectacular World Cup so far and our final last 16 encounter sees a promising Belgium take on an in-form USA for a place in the quarter-final.
Reaching the knockout stage is an achievement in itself for these two nations, but these equally ambitious squads will be determined to go even further in the competition. They should provide a fitting end to a highly entertaining round of 16.
Belgium To Turn Potential Into Promise?
The meteoric rise of Belgium over the past few years has been one of the incredible stories of international football.
Marc Wilmots’ men have jumped up the FIFA rankings and are now very much at the forefront of the international scene. The Red Devils team is full of promising young players all over the park and the pre-tournament odds of 14/1 suggest that they are believed to have a genuine outside chance of lifting a first World Cup trophy on July 13.
You cannot argue with their performances so far – three games, three wins and a maximum nine points saw Belgium top Group H with ease. Their performances may not have been world shattering, but this is a results business and the proof is in the pudding when it comes to Wilmots side.
This young set of superstars clearly fear no-one. Could that help them go all the way in Brazil?
Team USA To Defy The Odds Once More?
Manager Jurgen Klinsmann came under fire for omitting Landon Donovan from his 23-man squad, but the German’s decision has been more than vindicated as Team USA advanced from a group containing European giants Germany and Portugal.
With Ghana being the other team in their group, not that many people gave the Americans any hope of reaching the last 16. However, with a little help from Cristiano Ronaldo, Klinsmann’s men progressed in spite of their loss to Germany.
Klinsmann had previously enjoyed a good spell with birth nation Germany, leading them to the semi-finals in South Africa four years ago. Success with Team USA isn’t anything new either as USNMNT enjoyed their best ever year leading up to the finals.
The odds are stacked against the Stars and Stripes as they face a very talented Belgium. However, Klinsmann’s ambitious squad will be quietly confident of advancing to the quarter-finals. Their fans proudly sing ‘ I believe that we will win’, they may just do that by defying the odds in Salvador.
Belgium V USA Betting
Belgium’s young guns have been made the Evens shot favourites by bookmaker Bet365, but Klinsmann’s men aren’t being ruled out and are available at 16/5. On paper, this is arguably one of the closest games to call and punters can get odds of 5/2 on the match going to extra-time.
The excitement surrounding Belgium is understandable but, realistically, their chances of lifting a major trophy will much be greater at Euro 2016. The experience of this World Cup, along with the next two years, will surely set their young players up to have a really good chance of success in France.
However, we think winning this tournament is a little far-fetched. We’re backing Team USA to inflict misery on Wilmots’ men by advancing to the last eight here.
USA to qualify is 15/8 with Bet365
This is definitely one of the hardest matches to predict of the tournament so far. However, there has been a trend of goals a this summer’s football party and we expect that to continue here.
Both teams showcased their goalscoring abilities in the group stage by notching four times each. Neither defence is exempt from making errors and the pressure of the occasion could help ensure that goals are scored at either end.
BTTS Yes is 23/20 with Coral